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« Nightmares | Main | For the Least of These »

March 30, 2007


"We're living in the too-much-information age" is how Jessica Hopper starts off a review of two new memoirs, Rebecca Walker's Baby Love and Anne Lamott's Grace (Eventually). Of Walker's book, the latest entry in the mommy-come-lately genre, Hopper writes, "Baby Love reads less like a book than a compendium of mass e-mails Walker might've sent to let distant friends know how her second trimester was going. Her aimless and chatty rants should be instantly familiar to anyone who's killed an afternoon randomly cycling through Blogspot accounts."

After looking through only four pages of the book, excerpted at ABC News's website, I'm inclined to agree. By the time I'd seen Walker hash out her fears and insecurities and depression and mood swings and her own mommy issues with her baby's father, and her own father, and her mother, and her builder/contractor, and the woman who does her eyebrows, and her Tibetan doctor, and random women in the maternity store, and her midwife, and random women at benefit dinners, and her friends, I'd concluded that if she really wanted to borrow a song title for her book, she should have gone with Toby Keith's "I Wanna Talk about Me."

But that's not even the half of it.

It's not in the ABC News  excerpt, but the Washington Post quotes this bombshell of a passage:

She describes the difference between her love for her teenage stepson, Solomon -- whom she still parents with her ex, the singer-musician (and D.C. native) Me'shell Ndegéocello -- and her love for her biological son, Tenzin.

In it, she wrote: "It's not the same. I don't care how close you are to your adopted son or beloved stepdaughter, the love you have for your non-biological child isn't the same as the love you have for your own flesh and blood. It's different. . . . It isn't something we're proud of, this preferencing of biological children, but if we ever want to close the gap I do think it's something we need to be honest about. . . .

"Yes, I would do anything for my first son, within reason. But I would do anything at all for my second child, without reason, without a doubt."

Pardon me? Isn't the excuse for all this introspection and self-obsession and airing of dirty laundry in public -- at least in Walker's telling -- supposed to be that it helps prevent you from doing to another child the awful things the adults in your life did to you?

Jessica Hopper's got it right. Some people should just keep their opinions to themselves.

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I feel for her step son. I wonder what type of issues he'll possess as he grows older and learns about her preferential love. Humph.

Her writings call to mind that verse in Proverbs: a fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. (29:11)

There's something to keep in mind.


As someone who knows all about preferential love, I know it's not a good feeling. Not at all. I think Ms. Walker was just being brutally honest - like she's been in all of her books.

That said, Solomon is loved plenty by his mother. I've seen them together and the love she has for him is something that far too many children don't receive these days.

Solomon is going to be a good man because of the love from his mother. Nothing Ms. Walker writes in any of her books can change this :)


Is that the same Jessica Hopper who ran a few punk rock fanzines the last decade? She's a very fine writer.

I wonder if Anne Lammott's new book recounts the time she helped a friend kill himself. I also wonder why she's not in jail for it...


Yes, Anne Lammott's new book does recount the time she assisted the suicide of an unbeliever. She's out on her book tour right now, and I saw her speak at First Baptist Church in Seattle last Friday. She closed the evening reading that piece, and it was absolutely chilling. She explained that her friend was in "a place you could no longer endure," and compared suicide to getting out of class before the bell rang and taking an "Incomplete" grade on the course.

jason taylor

It's an old cliche of intelligence work that whenever there is a disaster SOMEONE new. But there was so much chaff mixed with the wheat that the truth didn't get through.*
This applies to everyday life as well as Spookcraft. Once just learning was important. Now skill in filtering is coming to a high-priority. Someone might adjust educational ciriculums to meet this new need.

*The 1941 invasion of Russia is obvious in retrospect and indeed was obvious to many at the time, but Stalin didn't see it. Pearl Harbor was more subtle-it was generally known that something was coming but the Phillipines were expected to be first and communications were sloppy anyway as America still had a peacetime mindset.

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